Monday, August 20, 2012


I'm sure by now you know about this:
Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri who is running against Sen. Claire McCaskill, justified his opposition to abortion rights even in case of rape with a claim that victims of "legitimate rape" have unnamed biological defenses that prevent pregnancy.

"First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare," Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Akin now claims he "misspoke" -- but he was basing his comments on a belief in the impossibility (or near-impossibility) of pregnancy through forcible rape that's been widespread on the right for decades. (I reviewed the history of this notion back in January 2011; Garance Franke-Ruta has a more thorough history here.)

Evan McMorris-Santoro of Talking Points Memo has said that Akin's comments will put pressure on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- even though Romney and Ryan have said they disagree with Akin -- because Ryan effectively signed on to Akin's theory not long ago:
Ryan and Akin ... were co-sponsors of H.R. 3, the 2011 bill that would have limited the federal abortion coverage exemption only to victims of "forcible rape" and women whose physical health was in danger from her pregnancy, closing a supposed loophole in health-of-the-mother exemptions conservatives have been crowing about for years.

After massive vocal protest from women’s rights advocates, the sponsors dropped the "forcible rape" language from the bill, giving up their quest to redefine rape in the federal code with little explanation.
But the mainstream press doesn't want to talk about that Akin-Ryan link. The New York Times tells us that Akin is an outlier, condemned by both parties:
In an effort to explain his stance on abortion, Representative Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, provoked ire across the political spectrum on Sunday by saying that in instances of what he called "legitimate rape," women's bodies somehow blocked an unwanted pregnancy.

Mike Talboy, the Democratic minority leader in the Missouri Legislature, said that he had spoken to members of both parties about Mr. Akin’s comments and had found uniform outrage.

"Nobody has defended him," Mr. Talboy said. "That, I think, is pretty telling."
Not a word about Ryan's co-sponsorship of H.R. 3. Not a word from The Washington Post(which also describes Akin's belief as "one that pops up occasionally in social conservative circles," although, as Franke-Ruta and I make clear, it's more than occasional). Nothing about Ryan's sponsorship of the Akin bill at CNN, the L.A. Times, or NPR.

The ticket is being shielded.

I don't think it's out of favoritism toward Romney and Ryan, however. I think the mainstream press, as usual, is in denial about how deeply rooted GOP craziness is. Emotionally, the mainstream press needs to believe that the GOP is a sane party. What Akin said simply has to be anomalous.

Maybe Democrats will succeed in tying Ryan to this -- but I doubt it. The standard-bearers of the GOP simply can't be nutjobs -- that would be unbearable for the press. So the press will issue its Pinocchios and declare any attempt to demonstrate the link to be hyperbolic and a low blow.


UPDATE: Sarah Kliff, one of Ezra Klein's blogging partners at The Washington Post's Wonkblog, also runs through the history of this idea. That's good. What's not so good is that she mentions H.R. 3 and never notes the identity of its (now) most famous co-sponsor:
Akin ... was among the 227 co-sponsors of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, introduced earlier this year by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.)

That legislation, as initially written, who have prohibited federal funding for abortion except in cases of incest or "forcible rape." That last term quickly-turned heads: It had the potential to significantly curtail Medicaid's ability to pay for an abortion for certain rape victims. Those who faced a statutory rape, where one party was too young to consent, could be left out.

That language was, much like Akin’s Sunday remarks, walked back in the face of public outcry. The legislation was revised within days to include an exception for all rape victims.
Um ... no mention of the fact that Paul Ryan was also a co-sponsor, Sarah? Why not?


Victor said...

I was watching Cup O' Schmoe this morning, and between "Legitimate Rape" Akins, and the GOP Congressmen doing '"The Gaza Strip" & Skinny-dip' on an Israeli fact-finding mission (one hesitates to ask what "facts" they found out about one another, any, 'short'comings, say...), Schmoe was in high, HIGH dudgeon about his party.

"What kind of Republicans ARE these people?" he harumphed.

Uhm, can it be... YOUR KIND?

This is YOUR party, Schmoe!

The one you helped make, the one you've been a part of, the one you support, and the one you continue to support, and will continue to do so in the future, as long as it profits you to do so.
The party of religious grifters.
The party of science deniers.
The party of low taxes for the rich.
The party of corporations over people.
The party of racists.
The party of misogynists.
The party of xenophobes.
The party of homophobes.
The party that's not just lacking in empathy, but is the party of abject cruelty.

Were these kind of Republicans hatched overnight, you think?
They sprang from the head of Zeus fully formed (ok, the head of Nixon or McCarthy, I'll buy) in the last, as you said Schmoe, 5-6 years?

They've been nurtured by the likes of you.
They've been financed by the likes of you.
Their extremism has been given cover by the likes of you.
They were already there when YOU, Schmoe, joined the House - or, did you forget your pal, Newt? He was there before you.

This is the party that sold the nation a moron with an oxymoron:
George W. Bush - The Compassionate Conservative."

And now, NOW, your dudgeon has finally reached a cruising altitude?

Schmoe - This IS your party!
And it's been your party for quite awhile
A party of cruel morons and amoroal morality grifters.

And YOUR party is just months away from the prize it's had it's eye on for decades: the complete remake of the USA from a Representative Democracy, to a Theocratic Fascist Plutocracy.

This is YOUR party, Schmoe.

Don't run away from it.
Cherish it, hug it, love it, kiss it, embrace it!
You are, after all, one of its fathers, Schmoe.

Shall I get a stepladder to help you get off your high horse, you horses ass?
Is your dudgeon so high, you need a parachute?

What you're looking at, is the reality of a party, YOUR PARTY, Schmoe, that cares about nothing except victory, and what power and profits it can extort from that victory.

Power and profits before people, Schmoe!

That's the party you're looking at - YOUR PARTY!!!
The party where any means are justifiable, if they end in victory.

Revel in it, Schmoe.
Enjoy it.
"Dive in," today's GOP Congressmen will tell you, "the water's fine!"

I hope you evil fuckers all drown!

Jack said...

Grat comment, Victor!

Jack said...

Er, "great" comment, Victor. I hate these tiny phone keyboards. :-)